Crime Writers Of Canada: Arthur Awards

I’m giddy with happiness and need to share.

Writing  and trying to publish a novel is a long, seriously long, journey, with very few accolades along the way.

With trepidation, I entered DESCENT in the Unhanged Arthur competition. This competition is for Canadian writers and is given for excellence in mystery, suspense and crime writing to unpublished authors.

I submitted my entry last fall. In January came the first exciting news. Descent made the long list. A wild sense of relief filled me. Descent had made it that far, and I felt pretty good. Now, all I had to do was wait until April 24th for the short list announcement.

That’s sounds easy, right?

Wrong. I didn’t sleep for the four nights leading up to the announcement. On the night of the 24th, I went to bed not knowing if Descent made the list or not. I woke up more times than I want to admit, but forced myself not to turn on my computer and check. If Descent wasn’t on the list, I knew I was in for a completely sleepless night.

On the morning of the 25th, I took my first sip of coffee, opened my laptop and collected my email.

The first message I read was from a facebook friend. The text read : Congrats on making the short list.

I looked up at my husband and smiled.

“I told you, you would make it,” he said with a big grin on his face.

Next I read the email from CWC (Crime Writers of Canada) with the official notice that Descent was short listed.

I asked my husband to read the email, just to make sure I wasn’t reading only what I wanted to see.

“Yup, he said. You made it.”

Friday turned out to go by in a blur. I couldn’t quite believe I was on the list.

Saturday morning, I woke up with the first feeling of happiness about the award.

I’m still in the middle of my journey, but once in a while it’s good to stop and enjoy small successes.

Thanks for reading . . .

Here are the places I found the announcement:

CBC Books

Crime Writers Of Canada

Blog Mystery Fanfare

Blog Criminal Element

Blog Shots Crime and Thriller Ezine 

Blog Mystery Mavin Canada

Blog Black Mask

Blog The Rap Sheet

Blog Mystery Scene

Tips For Writing a Synopsis

There seems to be a common thought that writing a synopsis is difficult, and I have to agreed.

In my post, How To Use A Spreadsheet For Your Synopsis, I give tips on how to use a spreadsheet to help you write your synopsis. But I have more to say on this subject. Like all things to do with writing, there is a lifetime of learning associated with talented synopsis writing.

Today, I want to talk about word limits and how they can help you improve your synopsis.

Publishers, agents, writing competitions usually ask for a synopsis and they usually give a word limit.

To make meeting the word limit easier, cut the limit in half. Yup, you heard me. If the limit is 1000 words, write a synopsis in 500. Don’t go over the 500 words. When you are satisfied that you’ve written the best possible synopsis in under 500 words, then and only the, can you start adding words.

Now you have 500 words available to improve your synopsis.

You may find you have room to add a subplot or show how you develop a character. You may find you want to delve deeper into the setting. You now have 500 words to do this.

It’s amazing how much easier it is to work your way up from 500 words to a 1000 than to try and cut from 1500 to 1000 words.

Please let me know if you have any tips for synopsis writing.

Thanks for reading  . . .

How to Get a Free Manuscript Critique

The value of blogging hits home. I’ve been following Joan Edwards for a while now and here’s what happened.

Joan posted an offer of a free manuscript review just for commenting on her blog. So I commented and I won.

I sent the first 1000 pages (oops – I meant words)  of my novel Avalanche to Joan. Joan assured me complete privacy and got straight to work.

What Joan did:

  • She sent me a covering letter describing her overall strategy and what her highlighting meant .
  • She gave me high level comments before reviewing each line in detail.
  • The critique included story line, grammar and punctuation comments.

It’s exciting to receive professional feedback that will help me improve the quality of my story. She included areas for improvement and highlighted sentences she thought were good. Now I have to get to work and make this better. It’s amazing what a second pair of eyes can do for a manuscript. I wish I could have Joan review my entire manuscript. Thanks Joan. You are a star!

If I didn’t blog, I never would have had this opportunity. This comes right back to Authors Helping Authors.

Thanks for reading . . .